Kodak Plus-X in the Pentax Spotmatic F

I love Kodak Plus-X. It’s a shame Kodak discontinued it.

All of the Plus-X photos I’ve shared on this blog have come from some expired stock I bought a few years ago. It was promised to have always been stored cold, and it performed like new.

My last roll had been moldering about the refrigerator for going on two years because I wanted to honor it with the perfect subject. Finally I decided that no subject would ever be perfect enough. I might as well just shoot it up.

I loaded it into my Pentax Spotmatic F, mounted my 55mm f/1.8 SMC Takumar lens, and carried the camera with me wherever I went. Naturally, I started in the yard. I often do. I hadn’t moved out of my old house yet.

Sale Pending

I had the Spotmatic along while Margaret and I took an evening stroll down Main Street in Zionsville. It’s become tradition that I shoot the Black Dog Books sign.

Black Dog Books

This shop on Main Street had closed for the night, but there was enough light for me to press the lens to the window and make this photograph.

Window shopping

And then a perfect subject came along: the Carmel Artomobilia. I’ve already shown you color photographs from this show here, and I’ll show you more black-and-white photos from this roll in an upcoming post.

Carmel Artomobilia

But as a preview, here are a couple wide shots.

Oldsmobile butts

I’m sure I could buy more Plus-X. It shows up from time to time on eBay, and the Film Photography Project has been known to sell it sometimes. It is said to usually perform well even when it hasn’t been stored cold.

But I think it’s time I shoot up my backlogged stock and then stick largely to films that are still being manufactured. Expired, discontinued films certainly have their charms. I might still be wooed here and there. But I wish to find my go-to films, the ones I reach for again and again because I know them well and can shoot for their strengths. If Plus-X were still being manufactured, it would absolutely be my slow-speed black-and-white film. Alas.


12 responses to “Kodak Plus-X in the Pentax Spotmatic F”

  1. Joshua Fast Avatar
    Joshua Fast

    Forgive me if i’ve asked you this before, but have you tried Pan F? I buy it by the bulk roll. I love plus X but pan F is a really good substitute. Low speed, inky blacks, extremely sharp and fine grained. I recently sold all of my expired film and I’m making a concentrated effort to shoot only fresh film that is being still being manufactured. I’d like to put money back into Kodak and Ilford so they continue to keep making film.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve shot one roll of Pan F, in 120 in a box camera. I have a couple more rolls of it in the fridge. I need to shoot them to experience this film some more. Perhaps after I shoot up my film stock — and I’m with you, I’m trying to get to a place where I shoot fresh film — I should buy some Pan F in 35mm and try it.

      1. Joshua Fast Avatar
        Joshua Fast

        Yes! You definitely should. Shoot it with a sharp lens that has character and you’ll be amazed at the results. Buy a 100′ roll of it and it works out to $3 a roll. Between FP4, Pan F and Tri-X, my black and white needs are covered.

  2. Christopher Smith Avatar
    Christopher Smith

    Nice Photos Jim, my go to low ISO film is Fomapan 100 which I get nice results from and the price is good if I buy 10 rolls at a time it works out at £3.30 a roll and I can get it from my Local Photo/Camera Shop.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s a pretty compelling argument for using Fomapan 100 — inexpensive and easily available! I haven’t enjoyed it in 35mm so far, but I have a roll or two still in the fridge that I will shoot up and get a better sense for the stuff.

  3. Steve Miller Avatar
    Steve Miller

    Wow! Pan X is still available? That was my go-to 50 years ago when I was halfway serious about becoming a photographer.

  4. Joe shoots resurrected cameras Avatar

    Plus-X was something special, and sadly I only ever got to shoot one roll of it myself before it was gone. I keep hoping since Kodak is bringing back Ektachrome, that Plus-X won’t be too far behind, but we’ll just have to see…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I wonder if Kodak ever will bring back Plus-X given that Tmax 100 exists. It fills a too-similar niche. But if you want to shoot more Plus-X, eBay is your friend!!

      1. Joe shoots resurrected cameras Avatar

        We just need to pester them more!

  5. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I believe the first roll of 35mm film I ever shot and processed myself (1974 or 75) was Plus-X, a fine, forgiving film.

    With Tmax 100 around, I can’t ever imagine Kodak bringing it back so I am hanging on to the few remaining rolls I have left for something special.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The first film I shot and processed myself was also probably Plus-X! It would have been 1983 or 84. I shot it in my Argus A-Four with the advice “f/8 and be there” and it mostly worked out ok. Still have the negs. I scanned them a couple years ago and Photoshop fixed almost all of my exposure sins.

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